It might be tempting during the pandemic to focus simply on the business, yet many agents have been turning their attention outwards to see how they can support the community.
The acts of kindness and generosity we have heard about in the last year have been heart-warming.
Looking for ways to help the wider community as a letting agent in the current climate and indeed as a business is important. However, as a result of the pandemic and the hardship it has inflicted, that need to look outwards and consider how we can help others is even more pressing.
We all know that engaging in Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) activities will benefit the business. The agent will be known for its kindness and generosity in the local community, building a strong reputation and stoking loyalty. Helping others, especially during the current pandemic, will also be a boost for staff morale and will result in tangible benefits for others.
This shared experience of navigating our way through the pandemic has brought many of us closer together and brought out the very best in people, as we find ways to help others who are struggling.
How could the letting industry best support its local community and what are some of the great ways agent are already helping out?
Take Sulets, a Midlands not-for-profit student lettings agency which is giving a rent discount to students who live in its leased houses in Leicester. Sulets told Letting Agent Today it would apply a discount to the overall rent for nearly 250 students this academic year – that’s four weeks of rent they will get back. Sulets said they took the action because of the economic impact the pandemic was having on students and paid for their rent out of its own pocket.
While some of the CSR activities letting agents would previously have engaged in simply aren’t possible at the moment, such as the office cake sale or attending a fundraising gala, there are still plenty of other ways to get involved.
Look at the amazing work Agents Giving has been carrying out. The charity has been raising money to buy laptops for children whose families simply can’t afford to purchase them. They set out to raise £50,000, but now they’re planning to raise £200,000 so that more children can access the home schooling lessons they so desperately need.
At The Letting Partnership, we decided to donate money to schools in the Worthing area attended by our employees’ children. This money will go towards buying laptops for pupils so they can have a quality online learning experience and build on their education, instead of falling behind. It was a huge boost for staff morale for us to actively help our community.
It got us thinking – what else could we do to help? Could we donate money to a local food bank to make sure people in need don’t go hungry? Could we support a local homeless charity to ensure they are cared for? What about all those office clear outs we carry out every year? Could we donate stationery or desks to people who need it? When can we take on our next cohort of apprentices at The Letting Partnership and how can we encourage businesses to give young people opportunities? We are buzzing with ideas and we are feeling inspired.
The pandemic will end – eventually. As society begins to open up again, what else could we do? How could we help our community to bounce back? What about all those community events we used to go like a Christmas market, fireworks display or a summer arts festival? Wherever your community is based, these milestones will return and it will be rewarding to do our bit to lend a hand where we can.
As a sector, the letting industry carries out so much charity work and it’s been incredible to see how agents have stepped up to help during the pandemic year. It’s true that letting agents which are known for their kindness and generosity in the local community, ultimately stand a better chance of being chosen and memorable.
Of course, helping others also helps your team to strengthen ties with their colleagues and with their local community. But during this increasingly challenging year, which we’re sure at times has left everyone feeling depleted, helping someone else gives us strength and will boost our mental health.
So why not give some thought to what we can do now and what we can do later to help our local community to build back, stronger and better than ever before. There are clear benefits for so many reasons. Let us know what you’ve been doing and email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Chris Mason, Operations Manager, The Letting Partnership